- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2022

Governing a nation that spans an entire continent is beyond difficult, and sadly, the failure of America’s leaders to manage it ably is beyond question. Even during the 19th century, the obvious shortcomings of officialdom forced an exasperated Henry David Thoreau to famously conclude: “That government is best which governs least.” There is no turning around the ship of state and returning to a state of nature, but President Biden’s brand of federal helmsmanship is steering the nation onto the rocks.

A new Pew Research Center survey outlines the breathtaking dimensions of distrust in federal authority. Most glaring, only 24% of respondents claim to be satisfied with the current state of the country, while 75% describe themselves as dissatisfied.

Breaking down attitudes toward Washington by political persuasion, it is not surprising that Pew finds a paltry 10% of Republicans expressing satisfaction in the direction of the nation. It is astonishing, though, to learn that only 35% of the president’s fellow Democrats feel that way.

Additionally, the survey finds that only 20% of respondents say they trust the federal government “to do the right thing just about always or most of the time.” To be sure, the public has held a dismal view of its national management since the turn of the century, but Mr. Biden has done little to raise it from the sub-basement. 

Responses to related queries unbroken displeasure with national leadership. A scant 6% believe the feds are careful with taxpayer money, reflecting decades of complaint about Washington’s taste for pork. In doling out nearly $6 trillion in coronavirus relief, President Biden apparently forgot he once described corruption as “a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy.” At least $100 billion of the money has been siphoned off by fraudsters.

Pew also measures at just 8% the proportion who credit government with being responsive to the needs of regular Americans. As they witness the unchecked flood of illegal immigration washing through their communities, Americans can be forgiven for believing the Biden administration is unsympathetic to their needs.

By contrast to the overwhelming resentment Americans hold toward their federal overlords, 65% of those queried said they were satisfied with the way things are going in their own communities, and only a much smaller, 34% disagreed. It might be only slightly cheeky to suggest using all the unassembled fencing at the southern border to wall off George Washington’s namesake city from the rest of America.

Effective government grants jurisdictional components reasonable balance between dependency and autonomy. In the words of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Showing little regard for states’ “right to choose,” Mr. Biden is clearly steering toward distrust.

With apologies to Thoreau, “That government is best which governs least — from Washington.”

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